May 13, 1939 - January 18, 2018
Willis G. Smith, died peacefully at home surrounded by family on Wednesday, January 14th, 2018 in Spirit Lake, Iowa after 10 years of battling cancer. He leaves his wife of 42 years, Blanca Smith; daughter Meghan Smith and step daughter Cathy Burket, step son Lawrence Pierson. three grandchildren; one great grandchild and many close friends. He was born and raised in Pipestone, Minnasota, the son of Fred K. Smith and Myrtle Smith . He graduated from Pipestone High School in 1959. From a very early age, Willis found a life long love of writing and music. He attended South Dakota State University. He was the managing editor of the school newspaper, sang in the mixed chorus and was a member of the golf team. He was a police reporter for the Winona, Minnesota Daily News and later the tri-state editor for the Hagerstown, Maryland Morning Herald. He married Mary Beth Anderson in 1965 and they had one child in 1970. They divorced in 1973. He starting working at the Omaha World Herald in 1966, as a copy editor. In 1974 he met Blanca Pierson. Blanca had 2 children prior to meeting Willis. In 1975, they married and a bought a house in Omaha, Nebraska. He remained working at the Omaha World Herald as a copy editor and remained there until retirement. During his time at the Omaha World Herald he had a few different music columns including Disc-o-team a 1960s youth oriented record column. And had a Sunday morning jazz column for many years. He wrote liner notes for records and briefly had a jazz radio show. Later both Blanca and Willis retired to Spirit Lake, Iowa. A commemoration will be held at Schuchert Lentz Funeral Home on Saturday, May 19th at 2:00 PM with a visitation one-hour prior at the funeral home. Burial of his cremains will take place in the River View Cemetery in Rock Rapids, Iowa.
Willis G. Smith, died peacefully at home surrounded by family on Wednesday, January 14th, 2018 in Spirit Lake, Iowa after 10 years of battling cancer. He leaves his wife of 42 years, Blanca Smith; daughter Meghan Smith and step daughter Cathy... View Obituary & Service Information
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